Spanish rider Alvaro Bautista completed his first hat-trick in three years after taking two wins on Sunday in Spain
Things could not have gone much better for Alvaro Bautista (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati) as he claimed a hat-trick of wins at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya during the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship’s Catalunya Round. After winning from fifth in Race 1 on Saturday, Bautista repeated that in Sunday morning’s Tissot Superpole Race to claim first place on the grid for Race 2 and duly won from there too to take his first hat-trick in three years.
Bautista, like in Race 1, got a superb launch off the grid in the 10-lap Superpole Race to move into the lead before Turn 1 and, from there, he remained relatively unchallenged as he took his second win of the weekend and improved his starting position for Race 2 while the results of the Superpole Race allowed Bautista to extend his Championship lead over both Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) and Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK).
In Race 2, Bautista led every lap like he had in Race 1 and the Superpole Race to take his first hat-trick of 2022 and his first since Aragon 2019; his fourth in total. His win gave him his 11th win of the season and he became the second rider this season to lead every single lap during a round. The only other rider to do this was Razgatlioglu when he took his first hat-trick at Donington Park back in July. It was also Bautista’s 48th podium in WorldSBK, putting him one short of Carlos Checa who has the most podiums for a Spanish rider in WorldSBK history.
Reacting to his hat-trick, Bautista said: “It seems like an easy weekend but, in reality, there was nothing easy. I’m so happy to have won three races here, especially because I think the competition is so high and even more difficult than three years ago. Saturday and Sunday, in the long race, I tried to manage the tyres and keep the pace. I felt quite comfortable. Honestly, for the Superpole Race, we were missing something so, today, in the Warm Up we tried something different on the electronics to help me use the tyre more and not worry about consumption. We tried, I liked it, so I used, and it definitely helped me a lot because it gave me a hand to use the tyre more. I could be fast in the Superpole Race and fight for the win. For sure, it was closer than the other races but also, I expected more fighting, more battling for the victory.”
The results of the Catalunya Round mean Bautista heads into the Portuguese Round, the final European round of the 2022 season, with a 59-point lead over Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK) in second place and 67 over Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) with four rounds remaining of the 2022 season.
Discussing the title battle, Bautista remained coy on his chances but said: “In the end, I don’t like to think about the Championship. I didn’t think about it at the beginning and I don’t think about it now. For me, the important thing is that I’m enjoying the bike a lot. I’m enjoying every practice, every single lap, every single race. Let’s keep this mentality and see what happens at the end. I’m just trying to enjoy the moment, celebrate the victory, to reset when things come back and just race and enjoy.”
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